Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Architect Of American Literature

1480 words - 6 pages

Nathaniel Hawthorne, born on Independence Day of 1807, led an unorganized childhood, transferring schools frequently. Despite all of the chaos surrounding his early life, Hawthorne gained experiences that allowed him to craft novels and short stories which later earned places as classics of American literature.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was born to Elizabeth Manning Hathorne and Nathaniel Hathorne, son of an infamous judge responsible for sentencing many young girls to death for witchcraft (Whitney). Because of this, Hawthorne changed his name from Nathaniel Hathorne to Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne found the legacy left by his grandfather and father despicable and changed his name in an effort to distance himself from the name infamous in Salem’s tragic early history (Faculty of European Graduate School). Only four years after Hawthorne’s birth, his father contracted and died of yellow fever. After the loss of the family patriarch, the remaining family moved in with Elizabeth’s brothers. Nathaniel Hawthorne began his attendance at Worcester’s School before being seriously injured. The details surrounding this injury were never chronicled, but it appears that it was during this time Hawthorne acquired his love of reading. After recovering months later, Hawthorne began attending a boarding school in Stroudwater, Maine, in 1818. Nathaniel Hawthorne later returned to his hometown of Salem, Massachusetts, to attend Samuel Archer’s School in order to prepare for college. In 1820, Benjamin Oliver tutored Hawthorne in Salem right before Hawthorne’s admission and attendance at Bowdoin College. Throughout his attendance at Bowdoin College, Hawthorne’s social life often took center stage. Hawthorne became friends with the likes of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a renowned poet, and Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States. He, along with his companions, were caught and fined many times for drinking, gambling, and smoking, so much so that Hawthorne became very close to suspension before finally graduating in September of 1825 (Whitney).
After his graduation, Hawthorne’s first attempts at writing were not very popular. “Twice-Told Tales” gained success with the help of a foreword from college friend Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. After receiving a small amount of success, Hawthorne edited The American Magazine of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge. He met Sophia Peabody before taking his next post at the Custom House in Boston. The couple found the separation required for Hawthorne’s job difficult, and Hawthorne soon quit. The two married in 1842 in Boston (Faculty of European Graduate School). Sophia Hawthorne showed great potential in art as well as writing. Speculation exists that her husband discouraged her from her creative talents; however, she illustrated Hawthorne’s story, “The Gentle Boy,” which Hawthorne dedicated to her. They had their first child, Una, in March of 1844, while living in Concord. About two years later, the couple had another...

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